8:54 am - Sunday November 8, 2015

Bombay HC stays Maharashtra govt’s decision to give 16% reservation to Marathas

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MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday stayed Maharashtra government’s decision to give 16 per cent reservation to Marathas in public service and educational institutions.

The HC also stayed state’s decision to provide 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in public service, but allowed them reservation in education.

The HC bench headed by chief justice Mohit Shah was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) filed against the reservation on the ground that they were not constitutional. The reservation for Marathas particularly violated a Supreme Court constitutional bench ruling of a cap of 50 per cent on all reservations by a state, said petitioner Ketan Tirodkar, a former journalist.

The HC admitted all the petitions and issued notice to the advocate general. The matter would be heard again in January.

Maratha community is a resourceful community. There are no elements of backwardness. The Rane committee report suffers from infirmities and is hence defective and can’t be relied upon, the court said.

The court relied on the Bapat committee report and rejected the Rane committee report.

The challenge was to a June cabinet decision that granted 16 per cent reservation in state jobs and academic institutions for members of the Maratha community and five per cent reservation for Muslims.

Tirodkar had said about “75 percent sugar factories who have defaulted the Maharashtra state cooperative bank belong to Marathas. Many educational institutions are run by members of the Maratha community.”

The Maharashtra government had justified its decision to provide reservation for Muslims and Marathas saying both the categories were socially and economically backward. The government had said that there was data to back its decision.

But Tirodkar said the quota takes the entire reservation in the state to more than 50 percent of seats or public jobs in violation of the SC judgment.

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